Biden wants infrastructure package approved over summer
by Associated Press
The president will announce parts of his "Build Back Better" package on Mar. 31 in Pittsburgh.
President Joe Biden is aiming for summer passage of an infrastructure plan that is expected to cost more than $3 trillion, and the White House hopes to take a more deliberate and collaborative approach with the contentious Congress than it did on the COVID-19 rescue package, officials said on Mar. 29.
The president will announce parts of his “Build Back Better” package on Mar. 31 in Pittsburgh. Sweeping in scope, the ambitious plan aims to make generational investments in infrastructure, revive domestic manufacturing, combat climate change and keep the United States competitive with China, according to the officials. It could include $3 trillion in tax increases.
The final price tag is in flux but was expected to be between $3 trillion and $4 trillion. One White House official said Monday night that it may end up being closer to $3 trillion.
Though the White House is emphasizing the urgency, it also insists this will not be considered an emergency response like the $1.9 trillion virus relief bill that Biden signed into law over Republican objections earlier this month. The administration wants to see progress on the new legislation by Memorial Day and have it passed over the summer, White House officials said.
“The president has a plan to fix our infrastructure and a plan to pay for it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
The administration is setting the political pace and tone for this next big priority in Biden’s agenda. The COVID-19 bill, though broadly popular with voters of both parties, exposed the president to criticism for going it alone with only Democratic votes. White House officials believe this time there will be far more of an opportunity to win some GOP support and plan significant outreach on Capitol Hill.
As the committees in Congress begin to tackle individual provisions — including those on transportation, China and others — the White House will encourage those efforts. Then it will work through the tax increases separately, according to officials.
Administration officials are sending signals that the White House will listen to suggestions and criticism alike from both parties and that significant changes could occur during the legislative process.
The physical infrastructure part of the package is not just about updating roads, bridges, rail, public transit and airports. It also is expected to include broadband, electric vehicle charging stations and investments in clean energy and domestic manufacturing, making it far more expansive than what Republicans usually discuss.